Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Leap of Faith

 A few weeks ago, Dan and I were faced with a big decision.
We had to decide if we would opt to take the easy road or, 
dare to take a leap of faith and follow where God was nudging.
We took the leap and what unfolded was far beyond anything
we could have orchestrated on our own.
With the decision to raise money towards the 
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) for 
Dan's first IronMan on July 23, 2017--
we felt a little nervous about how 
to trust God and pledge to raise at least $5,000.
The school where I teach, 
St. Matthew Lutheran School in Walled Lake, MI 
wanted to become involved. 
As we began brainstorming 
God worked out all the details. 
What evolved was "Color Out Cancer."
With passionate student council members 
and direction from our principal, Sue Palka,
a beautiful idea was formed.
 With so many loved one's fighting different types of cancer,
we decided to create a prayer chain with those who have
fought their battles and are in their heavenly home &
those who are currently fighting to overcome cancer.
Students could select the color of paper based on the type of cancer.
 It was very moving to see the length of our prayer chain.
With names added by church members, '
school families, and students-
Each person was remembered, named & prayed for 
before the start of our race. 
 Gathered together as one--
community was formed.
Students wore the color of those they were running for in
hopes of "coloring out cancer."
 After seeing the fire that was ignited in our student body, 
school, and staff--I am reminded of the verse:
"therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great 
cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles. 
And let us run with perseverance 
the race marked out for us." 
-Hebrews 12:1

Our goal was well surpassed through these efforts! 
God just wanted us to TRUST and LEAP. 
It's amazing what can happen when you do!

Here is a link to Dan's page with more information:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Prayers for Our Children- Daily Flipchart

Do I daily pray for my little one?
Yes! However, having a visual is so helpful!
I love the Prayers for our Children flip chart
because all I need to do is change the card daily. 
I also love that a bible verse is included 
and just one thought for the day.
It is easy to remember and 
all day long I can pray over my Jack.
This can be easily made out of 
cardstock, magazine patterns, colored/patterned 
cardstock & washi tape. 
Tearing the paper rather than cutting 
gives it a more textured look.
Distress ink can be added to create a more worn look.
A quick project can be reused from month to month.
They can be created for new parents, 
grandparents & godparents.
Hole-punching the top and adding a binder ring 
creates the ability to easily flip each page.
You can have the paper professionally cut and punched or, 
create it yourself.
What a great way to be daily reminded of specific prayers 
I can pray for my little one.
Want to get started? Click the link below.
The file is located 2nd from the bottom in the files
located on the DC Metro Bible Journaling Group.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Counting Gifts

Several years ago my mom gave me the book,
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Vosskamp.
In her book she describes the difficulty
of finding ways to
 "live fully right where you are."
Living this way takes practice.
It means your eyes are open
 and seeking these moments.
It takes a mental shift 
to find joy and gratitude
in each day--even the hardest.
She has a wonderful inspirational blog 
where she also gives resources
to adopt counting your own joys and blessings.
I've been doing this practice for several years 
and keep them in a journal where I can 
look back on days, months, 
and years of blessings.
There are days when I run out of room
 to write my joys
and then there are days 
that are really hard to think of
one thing I'm thankful for in my day.
However, I've found in those harder days,
I'm still focusing on God because I'm
 looking for my "one joy" of the day. 
Ann has created a journal page
 for each month
of the year that you can download
 and print out.
I've taken these and taped them
 into a larger journal.
I keep this by my bedside table
 and before bed,
write down my joys from the day.
I continue to add to the
 same journal year after year.
It is very neat to look back 
and reflect on what I've written--
to see the peaks and valleys--
and how God has brought me
 through them all.

If you are looking for a challenge,
a new focus, change...
try adding this very simple routine
 to your life.
You will be amazed at all the ways
 God is continually
blessing all your moments.
Grab a copy of Ann's book
and sign up to follow her blog.
(Her book is also a great gift 
with a joy journal for a friend!)
I love the idea of adopting this practice
as a family or even in the classroom.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Visual Faith Journal

 So what can  a Visual Faith 
journal look like?
Simple chipboard booklet from Michaels.
Paint the cover, add lettering for the title,
 and finish with Mod Podge.
 Words added to personal photos.
Real life. Been there. 
On the journey.
 Phone apps like:
 VRSLY, Canva and Studio
Nothing fancy.
A bit of wash tape.
Visual Faith
Bringing together images 
of everyday life
with words=typography, 
that communicate a Biblical truth.
Graphic displays and text
cement words of hope in
beautiful transformative ways.
Theology-the study of god,
lived out in our own
lives and experiences.
Visual theology 
allows the connections
 to be personal,
and a part of the story-telling
 of God's faithfulness.

Just another way for us to be 
deployed as digital missionaries
telling our own faith story journey.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Racing for a Cure

It has begun.
Training season is here.
There is a finish line--July 23, 2017.
IronMan Lake Placid-
Dan will be racing his first IronMan.

With eight years of completing
half-IronMans & triathlons--
it's time to take on the BIG one.
How BIG?
2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run-BIG.
Dan decided after this last triathlon season, it was time.
With a future goal to make it to 
Kona, Hawaii for the IronMan World Championship-
He thought it was time to try it out-
Push the limits.
Put in the work.
Raise awareness for a cause.

Dan is racing for the Multiple Myeloma Foundation.
A blood cancer, without a cure.
Loved ones who have had to say goodbye too soon.
The hope is money can be raised and donated towards the 
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).

It's one thing to race and strive for your personal best-
it's another to strive to complete this goal for an external cause.
With early, early morning swims,
run's squeezed between meetings,
and several hour bike rides on day's off--
it is a commitment. 

During these next months of training, 
we cheer you on!
ITU World Championships 2015
 Jack and I will be there cheering you on,
every step of the way!
Want to cheer Dan on with us?
Check out his personal fundraising page: Support Dan!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Scripture Cards

A few years ago I was looking for a way to 
create some DIY gifts for friends. 
I wanted to create something with a purpose, 
that was personal, and not too costly. 
I came up with the idea of scripture cards. 
After hunting for cute card decks with patterns 
(found at the Dollar Store), I decided to go to my
Pinterest Board where I had saved Bible verse visuals I liked.
In order to make the bible verses small enough to fit on the cards,
I just right clicked while in my Bible verse board, and 
printed a page with all my saved pins.
These were the perfect size for the cards,
all I had to do was cut them out.
I cut some backgrounds out of scrapbook paper I had laying around but, 
mostly used washi tape and double sided tape to adhere them to the cards. 
I decided to put a verse on the front and back of each card. 
I also found that they last longer if you add a coat of 
Modge Podge to the finished product. 
After a punch in the top and a few suction cup hooks, they were ready to go! 
I loved how they turned out! 
I made a set of three cards for my friends and tied them with a ribbon. 
What a cute gift! 
They are a perfect size to hang in a bathroom mirror or kitchen window.
 What I love the most, is they are simple to change
 out after I've learned a verse.
The Scripture cards can be personalized with verses about:
grief, happiness, trust, forgiveness, hope, etc. 
Its easy to whip up a lot of these for gifts in a few hours.
It's wonderful to have these as reminders each day as
I'm washing dishes or getting ready in the morning.
This would be a wonderful way to help children
memorize scripture.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Creative Coloring

Who knew that something I'm around everyday
 in the Kindergarten classroom
 is actually healthy for adults too? 

If you've been in any stores lately, 
you've noticed the new craze of 
adult coloring books.

There are all types! My favorite are
 the Christian coloring books. 
They can be found in most of our stores:
WalMart, Target, JoAnn's, Michaels, 
Hobby Lobby and Amazon.

These are the books I currently have:
The act of coloring actually has positive benefits too. 
When we color detailed pictures, choose colors, 
think about balance, put the colored pencil to the paper, 
use our fine motor skills and problem solve --
we are using both hemispheres of our brain. 
Coloring is also a wonderful stress reliever,
 this is probably the number one reason
 why people are picking up these books.
There are also these small Colorful Blessing cards,
 which are great for someone who wants to color 
but, may want a smaller picture or have less time.
They are great to throw in your purse along 
with a few colored pencils. 
(I've colored these on long car trips.)

The great benefit of these cards are they are easy to stuff
in an envelope and mail. 
Blessing Cards are a great way to "pray over" someone while 
coloring and then give them the product
of your time with God. 
 A few cards I colored and will be sending in the mail
 Love all the different types of cards
Looking for a way to de-stress? Try them out!
The Blessing Cards can be found on Amazon: